Flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of former U.S. Senator Abourezk

James Abourezk
James Abourezk(MGN and U.S. Senate)
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 12:41 PM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Gov. Kristi Noem ordered that flags be flown at half-staff statewide on Friday in honor of former U.S. Senator James Abourezk.

He served in the United States Senate from 1973-1979 and was the first Arab American Senator in American history.

“Senator Abourezk was a trailblazer in South Dakota and for our nation,” said Gov. Noem. “His passion for the state showed through his hard work throughout his life. He will be greatly missed, and we are praying for peace and comfort for his family and those who loved him.”

A private family service will take place, and Senator Abourezk will be buried at Black Hills National Cemetery on Friday.

James Abourezk’s background

Senator Abourezk was born in Wood, South Dakota, and grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. He went on to serve in the U.S. Navy before and during the Korean War.

Following his military service, Senator Abourezk earned a degree in civil engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and a J.D. from the University of South Dakota School of Law.

He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1971-1973 before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served as the first chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.